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SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE
English diplomat, statesman, essayist and author
(1628 - 1699)
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A government which takes in the consent of the greatest number of the people may justly be said to have the broadest bottom; and if it be terminated in the authority of one single person it may be said to have the narrowest top; and so makes the finest pyramid.
      - [Government]

A man must often exercise or fast or take physic, or be sick.
      - [Exercise]

A man's wisdom is his best friend; folly, his worst enemy.
      - [Wisdom]

All courageous animals are carnivorous, and greater courage is to be expected in a people, such as the English, whose food is strong and hearty, than in the half starved commonalty of other countries.
      - [Diet]

Authority is by nothing so much strengthened and confirmed as by custom; for no man easily distrusts the things which he and all men have been always bred up to.
      - [Authority]

By all human laws, as well as divine, self-murder has ever been agreed on as the greatest crime.
      - [Suicide]

By luxury we condemn ourselves to greater torments than have yet been invented by anger or revenge, or inflicted by the greatest tyrants upon the worst of men.
      - [Luxury]

Christianity teaches us to moderate our passions; to temper our affections toward all things below; to be thankful for the possession, and patient under loss, whenever He who gave shall see fit to take away.
      - [Christianity]

Good-breeding is as necessary a quality in conversation, to accomplish all the rest, as grace in motion and dancing.
      - [Good Breeding]

Health is the soul that animates all enjoyments of life, which fade and are tasteless, if not dead, without it.
      - [Health]

I am little inclined to practise on others, and as little that they should practise on me.
      - [Practice]

I have always looked upon alchemy in natural philosophy to be like enthusiasm in divinity, and to have troubled the world much to the same purpose.
      - [Alchemy]

In conversation, humor is more than wit, easiness more than knowledge; few desire to learn, or think they need it; all desire to be pleased, or, at least, to be easy.
      - [Conversation]

Learning passes for wisdom among those who want both.
      - [Learning]

Leisure and solitude are the best effect of riches, because the mother of thought. Both are avoided by most rich men, who seek company and business, which are signs of being weary of themselves.
      - [Leisure]

Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.
      - [Sorrow]

Man is a thinking being, whether he will or no; all he can do is to turn his thoughts to best way.
      - [Thought]

O temperance, thou fortune without envy; thou universal medicine of life, that clears the head and cleanses the blood, eases the stomach, strengthens the nerves, and perfects digestion.
      - [Temperance]

Oddities and singularities of behavior may attend genius; but when they do, they are its misfortunes and blemishes. The man of true genius will be ashamed of them, or at least will never affect to be distinguished by them.
      - [Eccentricity]

Sharpness cuts slight things best; solid, nothing cuts through but weight and strength; the same in the use of intellectuals.
      - [Wit]

Some are brave men one day and cowards another, as great captains have often told me, from their own experience and observation.
      - [Cowards]

Some of the fathers went so far as to esteem the love of music a sign of predestination; as a thing divine, and reserved for the felicities of heaven itself.
      - [Music]

Temperance, that virtue without pride, and fortune without envy, that gives indolence of body with an equality of mind; the best guardian of youth and support of old age; the precept of reason as well as religion, and physician of the soul as well as the body; the tutelar goddess of health and universal medicine of life.
      - [Temperance]

The abilities of man must fall short on one side or the other, like too scanty a blanket when you are abed.--If you pull it upon your shoulders, your feet are left bare; if you thrust it down to your feet, your shoulders are uncovered.
      - [Ability]

The best rules to form a young man are to talk little, to hear much, to reflect alone upon what has passed in company, to distrust one's own opinions, and value others that deserve it.
      - [Character]


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